A Short Narrative Of My Life


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a short narrative of my life Hans Christian Andersen

In the course Y2k and The End of The World, we've studied apocalyptic themes, eschatology, and for some, teleology. Apocalypse, which is to unveil or reveal, eschatology, which is a concept of the end, and teleology, the end or purpose to which we are drawn, are all themes used in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. The book is apocalyptic in that it revolves around dystopian ideals. Atwood creates a world in which worst-case scenarios take control and optimistic viewpoints and positive attitudes disappear. It has been said about this book that Atwood's writing echoes numerous motifs and literary devices, such as in Huxley's creation of a drug-calmed society, her characters awaiting execution seem tranquilized by pills or shots.

      Atwood's Book has also been compared to other novels like it, such as Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, and the most obvious, Orwell's 1984. These books have many things in common, including the perversion of science and technology as a major determinant of society's function and control. Like most dystopian novels, The Handmaid's Tale includes the oppression of society, mainly women in this example, the prevention of advancement of thought and intelligence, and an overwhelming sense of government involvement and interference.

      The Apocalyptic themes and situations found in Atwood's fictional city of Gilead focus around the mistreatment of all females. Women in this city, set 200 years in the future, have no rights, and get little respect. The rule by way of theocracy in Gilead also adds to the sense of regression and hopelessness in the future. The way babies are brought into the world, only through pregnant handmaids, the idea of a black market for things considered luxuries and privileges all add to the fact that society in this novel is in a desperate state of disrepair.

      Other Apocalyptic themes found in the book can be compared to sections of the bible, particularly the Old Testament. The Handmaid's Tale has many elements of social decline written into its plot. From the way women are mistreated to the way corruption and evil have infiltrated the government and army, to the way the black market plays a key role in many people's lives causing a majority of society to become criminals makes it clear how social decline plays a key role in the book. There is also a strong sense of moral decline in the book. If a person, regardless of sex, doesn't fit into the tight pattern of role expectation, he or she is eliminated, exiled from Gilead, and left for dead. Also, God plays virtually no part in this soulless, sterile theocracy. The Commander locks away the family bible and the only other worship takes place through a computerized prayer service which people order through the phone. The society of Gilead also attempts to weed out all non-whites, even though it is ultimately unsuccessful, while at the same time, it successfully prevents women from gaining any individual identity.

    As you can see, many apocalyptic themes are present in the novel. Planned pregnancy of surrogate mothers, an oppressive government, and an absence of God all contribute to the themes inherent in the story. Although some have called the novel a warning about the future, others claim it is a forecast, the fact still remains that characters in the book have less respect for the officials in society, less respect for the religions that now run the government, and less respect for themselves making the future into a terrible, terrible place.

    The Handmaid's Tale is set in the futuristic Republic of Gilead. Sometime in the future, conservative Christians take control of the United States and establish a dictatorship. Most women in Gilead are infertile after repeated exposure to pesticides, nuclear waste, or leakage from chemical weapons. The few fertile women are taken to camps and trained to be handmaidens, birth mothers for the upper class. Infertile lower-class women are sent either to clean up toxic waste or to become "Marthas", which are house servants. No women in the Republic are permitted to be openly sexual; sex is for reproduction only. The government declares this a feminist improvement on the sexual politics of today when women are seen as sex objects.

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Lady Audley's Secret By Braddon

Lady Audleys Secret, by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, is a novel of many elements.
It has been placed in many different style or genre categories since its
publication. I feel that it best fits under the melodrama or sensational genre,
and under the subgenre of mystery. It contains significant elements of both
types of writing, so I feel it is best to recognize both, keeping in mind that
melodrama is its main device and mystery is a type of Victorian melodrama. In
order to understand how the story fits into these categories, it is necessary to
explore the Victorian characteristics of each, and apply them to the text. In
addition to establishing the genres, it is important to explain why and how
these genres fit into Victorian culture. The term melodrama has come to be
applied to any play with romantic plot in which an author manipulates events to
act on the emotions of the audience without regard for character development or
logic (Microsoft Encarta). In order to classify as a Victorian melodrama,
several key techniques must be used, including proximity and familiarity to the
audience, deceit rather than vindictive malice, lack of character development
and especially the role of social status. The sensational novel is usually a
tale of our own times. Proximity is indeed one great element of sensation. A
tale which aims to electrify the nerves of the reader is never thoroughly
effective unless the scene be laid out in our own days and among the people we
are in the habit of meeting. In keeping with mid-Victorian themes, Lady
Audleys Secret is closely connected to the street literature and newspaper
accounts of real crimes. The crimes in Braddons novel are concealed and
secret. Like the crimes committed by respected doctors and trusted ladies, the
crimes in Lady Audleys Secret shock because of their unexpectedness. Crime in
the melodrama of the fifties and sixties is chilling, because of the implication
that dishonesty and violence surround innocent people. A veneer of virtue coats
ambitious conniving at respectability. Lady Audleys Secret concludes with a
triumph of good over evil, but at the same time suggests unsettlingly that this
victory occurs so satisfyingly only in melodramas (Kalikoff, 96). Everything
that Lady Audley does seems calculated. Unlike violent stories of the past in
which a criminal kills for the sake of killing, Lady Audley is brilliant in her
bigamy, her arson, and her murder. The nature of her crimes reflect a
general fear of intimate and buried violence, suggesting a growing anxiety about
being threatened from within. Her moves are calculated and planned. Murders and
robberies spring from a specific social context, not from psychosis or
vindictive malice (Kalikoff, 81). Murders in Victorian melodramas are often the
result of elaborate plans to conceal identity, right a wrong or improve social
status. A reader of Lady Audleys Secret might notice upon concluding the
novel that he/she knows very little about the characters at hand. Instead of
being fully developed into people who are easy to relate to, the characters in
this novel are used more as symbols or pawns that are moved in order to bring
attention to social or moral problems. This can best be seen in the character of
Lady Audley. Lady Audley is not much of a person, rather she is nothing more
than a representation of the threatening woman figure trying to make changes in
a patriarchal world. Lady Audley evokes a fear of womens independence and
sexuality. As a popular Victorian genre that trades on the power of the secret
and frequently sexualized sins of its heroines, sensation fiction provides a
resourceful perspective on the contradiction that frame these villainous victims
who are simultaneously diseased, depraved, and socially and economically
oppressed (Bernstein, 73). Lady Audleys ability to control the men in her
life makes her a devilish figure. When she attempts to convince Sir Michael that
Robert is insane with no proof and just her innocent looks, she is portraying
the fears of many people in Victorian society: a woman with power is dangerous.
In Lady Audleys Secret, crimes logically emerge from an environment in which
social status is valued above everything. Crimes committed to improving social
status usually focus around a man or woman with a past. Married to a man three
times her age, Lady Audley would raise anyones eyebrows, yet she successfully
ensnares Sir Michael and very nearly achieves her ambitions. Who is safe when
the most ruthless conniver insinuates herself into the aristocracy? (Kalikoff,
84). In Lady Audleys Secret, aristocrats ... more

a short narrative of my life

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